Sunday, July 26, 2009

Theodore Wells Swift 2000

Theodore Wells Swift
Died February 25, 2000
LANSING - Theodore Wells Swift died Feb. 25, 2000, of an apparent heart attack.
Born June 8, 1928, he was the son of Leland and Frances Swift of Battle Creek. He received his undergraduate degree from DePauw University. After serving as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corp. during the Korean War, he earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

Theodore married Anne Robson Gilbert in 1953 and joined the Lansing law firm of Foster, Foster & Campbell. He was a lifelong Lansing area resident, practicing at the same firm, which now bears his name, Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, P.C., for 45 years.

A man of great wit, class and grace, he had an impeccable reputation as a lawyer and civic leader. Ted was a member of the American Bar Association and the Michigan State Bar Association. He was a member and past president of the Ingham County Bar Association. He was the former chair of the committee of Professional and Judicial Ethics, State Bar of Michigan and was appointed by the Governor to serve as the chair of the Michigan State Board of Ethics. Despite these and other distinctions, to the end he claimed he was still trying to find his niche. Listed in Best Lawyers in America since 1987, among his many roles was serving as a visiting Professor of Law at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing, in 1986.

Mr. Swift was as renowned for his community involvement as his professional accomplishments. He was a current member of the Dean's Community Council of Arts and Letters for Michigan State University. He remained active in the Lansing Rotary club where he served as president in 1974 and 1975, but was best known as the perennially incompetent master of ceremonies at the Annual Rotary Club Christmas Celebration held for the orthopedic and hearing impaired children, families and staff of Walnut and Woodcreek Schools, Lansing. The children of Walnut and Woodcreek Schools will miss their beloved Uncle Ted. He was a toast master, poet, off-key singer, sometime actor and semi-professional public speaker.

Most recently he served as the Eighth District Congressional Coordinator for John McCain, and his victory in that race avenges his only other foray into Michigan Republic politics, a failed bid for the Republican nomination to the Michigan State Senate in 1962. He was an active, if agitated, member of the Republican party.

Ted loved northern Michigan, and especially Leelanau County, where he owned a lake cottage on a small point of land he fondly dubbed "Point-less." He was known locally for his role as the lead attorney representing the Michigan Sports Fisherman in the long running dispute over the use of gill nets in the Great Lakes. He will also be remembered for his donation of bright red English phone booths to the community of Suttons Bay.

Surviving are his loving and patient wife, Anne Gilbert Swift; his sister, Ruth Swift Wilcox of Greensboro, SC; his son, Timothy Warren Swift and wife Lynn Elizabeth Vaughan of Geneva, SW; his daughter, Sara Swift Morgan and husband Christopher Lewis Morgan of Austin, Texas; his son, Thomas Wainwright Swift of San Francisco, Calif.; and four beautiful and rambunctious grandchildren, Clayton Morgan and Eliza Morgan of Austin, Texas and Leland Swift and Frances Swift of Geneva, SW.

Memorial services were held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Lansing on March 3, 2000. The family suggest donations be made to the Leelanau Conservancy.

Theodore "Ted" Swift
Husband, father, advocate,
A wit that never ceased,
You've touched us, Ted,
and filled our hearts,
And now we wish you...peace.